So you wait years for an F1 game, Codemasters promised the world to us back in 2008 and after Sony had appeared to be dragging their heals on a new relase we were all so excited about the official game franchise changing hands. We were all so confident too, after all Codemasters were the kings of the motorsport game with a back catalogue of successful franchises - nothing could go wrong.
It hasn't quite worked out that way but it is a really good first attempt at motorsports most prized formula with just a few drawbacks. I shouldn't be surprised, to recreate a full season of F1 from scratch and on the psp platform (where many top titles remain in 2d!) is a massive task, and it has been done with overall success as this game is still as good as we've got - so great.
As I'm an F1 nut it does feel a little out of date already with no Grosjean, no Alguersuari, how can EA manage to keep all transfers up to date and release its FIFA titles only a month after football's transfer window ends, but when a driver leaves an F1 team in the first few races of the season it was sadly a step to far to think that Codemasters could update that info given 8 months. This is not helped further as by the time we had seen the release date go back month by month we knew by then that BMW, Toyota and Brawn are no more in F1.....never mind, I can't really blame them for that....as long as that time was well spent on other features, after all, my copy of F1 2006 on psp is very out of date but still gets a run out because it has good gameplay and has some good graphics too, how did Codemasters fair here?
Fairly well, the graphics are very grainy but the cars and tracks are still authentically detailed but nothing exceptional and do not look as different from each other as perhaps they should, the frame rate slows a little when many cars are in frame which is a pity. The main spoiler is what I imagine is meant to represent sun glare, it looks like a sudden bizarre dulling of the colour. The buildings and other landmarks they have spent all this time lovingly recreating also look flat but I don't doubt they are all exactly where they should be and credit to the developers for attempting to capture all of this on every circuit of an entire season. The fact that all of the official tracks are here is an amazing achievement not to be overlooked.
The handling which is already tough to get used to (you must turn on traction control) as the cars slide about alot and overtaking becomes a russian roulette style affair where you either do or you don't and end up eating the wall thanks to the poor AI. On the positives to add to the great size of the game with all of the tracks etc. the game feels fast, very fast and this is absolutely a good thing and really does make this such a different game to the slow Sony efforts on psp. But you feel all the other areas of gameplay and graphics have suffered just a little too much at the expense of creating this sense of speed and on balance I don't think this was the best trade off. It is worth a buy if you don't have F1 2005/6 and are an enthuisiast of F1 but there are better racers on psp, TOCA 3 still leads the way.
In brief I'm delighted it is on psp, it's very different in the ways detailed above, but neither is it an improvement on F1 2006. It lands somewhere between an arcade racer and a realistic simulation, it has some great features which you could argue for both camps, but enough drawbacks to say it fulfills neither. My wishlist to codemasters wouldn't be a long one, in a way I would be taking out much of the complexity out leaving just a good solid racing game behind, overall though it represents a job well done and other reviews here are very harsh indeed.